Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Public hearing to address forced displacement of street vendors and homeless in India

Shimla, May 9

The ongoing Group of Twenty (G20) events in India are leading to alleged forced eviction of street vendors, waste pickers, traders, urban poor, and homeless people in over 50 cities. In response, a public hearing is being organized by Concerned Citizens and a collective of organizations, including the National Hawkers Federation, Delhi Solidarity Group, Delhi Forum, People’s Resource Centre, Centre for Financial Accountability, Basti Suraksha Manch, and All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh, to shed light on this issue.

Notably, India being president of G20 is hosting the summit this year. Before the summit, G20 meetings are happening in more than 50 cities of India.

Former Deputy Mayor of Shimla Municipal Corporation and CPI(M) leader from Himachal Pradesh Tikender Singh Panwar has been invited to participate in a panel discussion on the forced evictions as a jury member. Sharing this information, Panwar informed that it is being alleged that wherever these meetings are being organized, city administrations in collusion with different departments are evicting street vendors, waste pickers and traders, demolishing houses of urban poor, destroying night shelters, displacing homeless people.

Such evictions are being carried out by city administrations in collusion with different departments, such as the municipality, tourism, and police, in the name of removing “illegal encroachments” from urban spaces.

Also read: G20 summit ‘event’ in Dharamshala boosts Himachal’s prospects

He said that the civil rights groups are deeply concerned about the destruction of homes and livelihoods of the urban poor and the displacement of homeless people. Therefore, this panel discussion will be held on May 22 and will aim to raise awareness on this issue and push for a solution that protects the rights of the urban poor.

Notably, Panwar’s vast experience as a leader of local self-government and former deputy head of Shimla town will bring valuable insights into the discussion.

Here it is pertinent to mention, that it is not for the first time when people living on the streets are being subjected to such inhuman treatment but slums are subjected to similar insane actions when foreign dignitaries visit the country. A half-kilometer brick and mortar wall had been hastily erected on February 2019 in Gujarat ahead of a visit by former US president Donald Trump, amid allegations that it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people.

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